Community Volunteering Award For Staff
This award recognises outstanding achievements by an individual University staff member who has been volunteering for a community or cause outside the workplace for at least two years.
Introduced in 2017 through the support of University of Adelaide donors Ron and Marilyn Seidel, this award acknowledges staff who lend their expertise to the general community on a voluntary basis.
Academic and professional staff (full-time and part-time) who have been employed for at least one year are eligible for nomination.
The winner of this award will receive a certificate and a prize of $2000*. If there is more than one candidate of equal merit, then the Award may be shared equally. The judges’ decision will be final with no correspondence being entered into.
*Please note that the prize money will incur tax if the staff member elects to receive it via their payroll. If the staff member chooses to donate the prize money towards a charity of their choice there will be no tax incurred and the charity will receive the total amount.
Associate Professor Patrick O'Connor
Patrick is an Associate Professor with the Centre for Global Food and Resources. For 40 years Patrick has been a committed volunteer in the Cystic Fibrosis Community. He began volunteering with the South Australian branch in 1982 as children’s camp fundraiser, organiser and leader from the year 2000.
Patrick was also Director of Cystic Fibrosis South Australia for five years and served as President for a further five years. He then brought his exceptional skills and experience to Cystic Fibrosis Australia and the Research Trust.
Patrick’s volunteering roles have evolved over the years to include fundraising, leading children’s recreational camps, governance, leadership, strategy and research. What an impressive commitment – lending his time and energy over 40 years for such an important cause.
2019 Award winners
Ms Lynette Kelly, Research Services
After being made aware of a struggling school for underprivileged children located in rural Assam, India, Lynette made the decision to volunteer there in 2013. The school’s mission is to provide over 500 children with free quality secular education in a safe environment. After seeing firsthand the challenges she was determined to do something to help. That is when she decided to set up a foundation; Friends of Parijat.
Over 7 years Lynette has self-funded 14 visits to the school helping teachers, children and the women in the local villages. She has refined a model to secure the school’s future as well as provide employment opportunities for locals to pursue independence from charities going forward.
Lynette has worked closely with the Government of India to obtain approval for the school to now apply for other domestic registrations and access funds under the India’s recent Corporate Social Responsibility Model.
Dr Tiffany Gill, Adelaide Medical School
Tiffany has been an active, engaged and a productive member of the Board of Arthritis Foundation SA through her leadership roles as; Convenor of the Education Committee, Convenor for Research Committee, Chair of Education, Research and Advocacy Committee and Vice President.
She has continued to advocate at all levels for those with arthritis and related conditions, engaging with government, the health bureaucracy, medical and allied medical specialists.
As a result of Tiffany’s commitment and contribution over the past 15 years the foundation has been able to operate a free helpline staffed by qualified health practitioners 5 days a week. And recently she contributed to the launch of the 2019 National Strategic Action Plan by the Federal Government which will be supported by $4M in committed funding.
2019 Award nominees
Ms Christine Kalogeras, Operations Division
For over 20 years Christine has been volunteering with the Royal Life Saving Society of Australia (SA Branch) after being a competitor herself from the age of 14. During this time she has impacted hundreds of youth through training them as part of the Pool Lifesaving Program and The Parks Swim Club.
"Not every child who attends this training ends up being a professional lifesaver, but the knowledge they gain from these sessions’ enables them to assist in emergency situations." she said
Her dedication as a coach, manager and mentor is to be commended and as a mature age competitor it is evident that Christine is a role-model to these young girls.
Ms Margie Steffens, Dental School
Margie has been a volunteer with the Dental Hygienists Association of Australia over the last 19 years and the Nepal Universities for 5 years.
Margie is a dental lecturer here at the University and has used her passion and expertise to assist University students in Nepal. She has also visited orphanages to provide dental screening for children who are sight impaired and for children who have lost parents in earthquakes. These visits have opened up overseas opportunities to connect organisations, universities and study opportunities.
Ms Suzanne Edwards, School of Public Health
Suzanne has had varied volunteering roles over the past 8 years. For the past 2 years she has been volunteering with OzHarvest every fortnight by collecting surplus food from the Adelaide Market to deliver to those in need. In addition to this she assists with physiotherapy and speech therapy for people with acquired brain injury through Brain Injury SA every week.
Suzanne is a violinist and has also volunteered as a member of the Norwood Symphony Orchestra Committee for the past 8 years. She enjoys the variety of her volunteer roles and says "the key to being dedicated is loving what you do".
Mr Rohan Main, Infrastructure Branch
Rohan has been volunteering with the Re-Enact SA group since 2014. As Vice President Rohan is dedicated to providing those with an interest in the world wars with the experience of historical re-enactments through public displays, commemorative ceremonies, community events and educational programs to further their awareness of the sacrifices made by soldiers and civilians during both World Wars.
Rohan is passionate about providing the community with a greater insight and understanding of South Australia’s military and historical contribution through these re-enactments.
Ms Tanetta Cameron, Rural Clinical Schools Whyalla
Tanetta has been a volunteer with St John Ambulance for 6 years. Since 2018 she has contributed 1,496 hours at events, delivering First Aid Service to the public. She has also spent a further 1,276 hours involved in training and administration with St John in Port Augusta making the 150 km round trip from Whyalla regularly.
In her role with the University Tanetta is committed to supporting medical students on rural placements and I’m told that the knowledge she has gained from her volunteer role has transferred to her work by having a more understanding of the requirements needed to coordinate medical equipment and practical examinations.
Ms Ashleigh Kenny, Robinson Research
Ashleigh has been a foster carer with the Aboriginal Family Support Services for almost 3 years.
With over 3,900 children in out of home care in South Australia, Ashleigh and her family recognised the need to bridge the gap and provide a safe home for children requiring care on an emergency and short term basis.
Ashleigh and her family have provided care to over 12 children from the age of 8 days old to 4 years old, while also caring for their own children.
Ashleigh has recently implemented a “Foster Care Share Shed” which supports other foster carers with a free borrowing facility for various items like furniture, clothing, bedding and toys. She is passionate about advocating for those who are unable to advocate for themselves and providing a reliable and safe-space for the children in their care.
Associate Professor Mathew White, School of Education
Mathew has been volunteering for 6 years with the Positive Education Schools Association; a registered charity which was established to share an interest in evidence-based approaches to wellbeing in schools. Their mission is to lead, promote and foster the implementation and development of Positive Education.
During this time Mathew has been involved on the board as Chair and Secretary and has played a foundational role in establishing the South Australian Chapter. He has volunteered his time as an expert keynote and masterclass presenter at national conferences. He has chaired three State Chapter Conferences creating full-day professional development opportunities for over 600 teachers.
Ms Donna Holloway, Health and Medical Sciences Student and Learning Services
Donna brings a broad range of life skills to each charity, her attitude and approach to each of the different environment demonstrates how well she is able to engage with disadvantaged people in these sectors of her community.
Mr John Leeton, Infrastructure Branch
John has been volunteering with the Scouts since 2001. As a Scout Leader John has concurrently led Joeys, Cubs and Scouts for the past 19 years as well as being a Personal Leader Advisor and Assessor for Adults in Scouting.
John has participated in over 200 camps and has been the primary point of contact in raising over $80,000 for the Scouts. He has has helped thousands of young people to learn valuable camping and recreation skills, to have fun and make friends in the process. In return he has had a positive impact on hundreds of families involved in Scouting.
Associate Professor Tania Crotti, Faculty of Health & Medical Sciences
She is involved in Emergency Fostering, Fundraising and Promotion as well as a Client and Pet support person for pet foster carers.
During this time Tania has secured donations and sponsorships; as well as providing support to homeless people with pets via the Pop-up veterinary clinics. She helps transport pets to foster carers and does assessment checks for potential carers.
2018 Award Winner and Nominees
Dr Tamara (Tammy) Page, School of Nursing 2018 Award Winner
Tammy has been volunteering with the Tea Tree Gully Gym-sports for 34 years. During this time she has played many voluntary roles, from coach, to committee member, President, Team Manager for the Australian National Championships and Board member of Gymnastics SA.
As a coach she spends 15 hours a week with children, providing them with foundation skills they can use not only in gymnastics but in life. For many of these children Tammy is their role model, with her regularly being the topic of school projects.
As President Tammy updated the constitution, reformed the committee into a board, liaised with local, state and federal members of parliament to successfully gain grants for a million dollar extension to the gym and managed the construction from 2009-2011.
As a board member the impact of her governance has seen a club develop into a professional, regulated organisation with over 2000 members, the largest in SA.
Ms Lynette Kelly, Division of Research and Innovation
After being made aware of a struggling school for underprivileged children located in rural Assam, India, Lynette made the decision to volunteer there in 2013. The school's mission is to provide over 500 children with free quality secular education in a safe environment. The majority of the children are the first in their families to attend school instead of working in stone quarries or rice fields.
After seeing firsthand the challenges the Parijat Academy were having, Lynette was determined to do something to help. That is when she decided to found the Friends of Parijat.
Over 6 years Lynette has visited the Parijat Academy 10 times. She teaches and helps the children, staff and women in the local villages. She talks to the village girls and women about health and hygiene. She motivates the local people in India and others in Australia and England to support Parijat.
She has helped raise funds for many projects like supporting teachers; $10,000 for the hostel, 500 tubes of toothpaste, clothes, stationeries, toys, bed sheets for the hostel children.
Lynette has explored multiple creative and sustainable methods to not only raise funds but to learn, sensitively about the deeper context of the community through her visits and long conversations with all stakeholders, she has developed and refined a business model to secure the school's future as well as provide employment opportunities for locals to pursue.
Lynette drives Friends of Parijat single handed and is dedicated to the children, the families and the wider community of Gorchuk. She has worked personally with the Federal Government of India to obtain a Foreign Contribution Regulation Act approval. This means that Parijat can now apply for other domestic registrations and access funds under the India's recent Corporate Social Responsibilities Model.
Ms Sophia Carson, Human Resources
Sophia has been volunteering with Vinnies and St Marks Church for 2 and half years, less than a month after she immigrated to Australia.
Sophia has been an active member of Vinnies by carrying out home visits on a weekly basis, providing families with food, clothing, transportation and financial assistance. She collects bread every week and distributes to those less fortunate, she is also an active participate in fundraising events.
With home visits Sophia is exposed to various kinds of uncertain circumstances, with her calm and positive composure she is able to handle the visits through active listening in order to resolve issues.
On top of this Sophia volunteers for St Mark’s Church each week, in many roles from church cleaner, to assisting with the Sunday Mass.
“Her warm personality and her very helpful disposition, she has become a favourite with the parishioners, assisting the elderly where necessary and even taking the time to visit a sick parishioner in a Nursing Home on weekends. Whenever there is a job to be done, Sophia is always amongst the first to put her hand up.” says Bob Rabbitt, St Marks Church Coordinator.
Professor Wayne Pitchford, Animal Breeding and Genetics for School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences
For more than 20 years Wayne has been volunteering with the Echunga Uniting Church. During this time he has impacted more than 240 youth through running Friday night activities, teaching on Sunday mornings and coordinating many youth camps. He has also served as Chairperson of the congregation from 2007-2010.
Wayne has certainly had some challenges over the years with leading the church during tough financial times, but his dedication to the Echunga and Meadows districts is admirable, which is evident when he led a team to secure 4 grants to support paid youth workers for the area.
Reverend Matthew Carratt says “Wayne has made a significant contribution in shaping the lives of countless young people through his consistent leadership and encouragement. His gifts and passion as a teacher have allowed him to engage with young people and equip them with important life skills.”
2017 Award Winner
Professor David Paton, Associate Professor School of Biological Sciences
David is extremely passionate about his voluntary work, having dedicated countless hours to organisations and groups focused on engaging people with natural history and biodiversity, giving frequent public talks and offering field experiences.
He has been committed to using his expertise, passion and knowledge in a voluntary capacity for 45 years. Some of his volunteering achievements include:
- Developing a Strategic Management Plan for Birds SA and founding “Fledglings”, a group which provides field and classroom learning experiences for children, linking them with South Australia’s birdlife.
- Advocating for and facilitating the conversion of a disused property to an education retreat for Wilderness School. He volunteered his expertise to write the science curriculum and runs bird banding sessions providing the students direct experience with scientific research.
- Encouraging and supporting members of the public in monitoring of the Coorong’s ecosystem for more than 20 years. His award-winning book At the End of the River: The Coorong and Lower Lakes, is a testament to his passion for community education and making science accessible to everyone.
- Founding BioR , a not-for-profit that generates funds and expert knowledge to recreate habitat for wildlife, and create opportunities for people of all ages, particularly children, to reconnect with nature, inspiring a passion to care for South Australia’s unique environmental heritage.
- Advocating for conservation and South Australia’s biodiversity including advocating for the listing of the Monarto Woodlands as a conservation park.
- Helping to secure 500 ha of old farmland at Monarto to be used to rebuild habitat for conservation, encouraging the local community’s involvement with planting, bird banding and research projects to foster their personal connection with the area.